It’s been proved, time and time again, that sledgehammer-style censorship is not the way to stop piracy. If you needed the tiniest smidgen of extra proof, though, try this example of major movie studios basically shooting themselves in the foot with their 12-bore-shotgun piece of legislation.
If you’ve ever been a naughty, naughty boy (or girl) and Googled for illicit movie streams, you’ve probably come across a little line at the bottom of the page that says:
“In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed [x] result(s) from this page.”
The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (also known as the DMCA) is a bit of US legislation that basically obliges online service providers (like Google) to comply with requests by copyright holders (TV or movie companies) to remove copyright-infringing material (or access to such material) from their systems. That’s why you see the above notice when you start trawling Google, and that’s why it’s occasionally slightly difficult to find a working stream of whatever TV show you wanna watch.
There’s a flaw in the system though: the people who send Google takedown notices aren’t infallible. In fact, they’re more just plain retarded than falliable. The reps of movie studios have been sending Google takedown notices for completely legitimate links, often even links to their own websites. Yeah, that’s right, they go to the expense of making a pretty catch-up-TV website, and then stop people getting to it through Google. Way to go, guys.
Offenders include protectors of the movie Cabin in the Woods, who asked for links to versions on iTunes, Amazon and Blockbuster to be taken down; 20th Century Fox, who wanted the “infringing” Wikipedia article of Family Guy taken down; and worst of all, CBS, who censored the link to their own CBS website’s version of How I Met Your Mother. Morons. Mind you, this is only the tip of the ban-hammer iceberg: Walt Disney, Sony Pictures and our very own BBC are all guilty of similarly stupid DMCA requests.
This is just another classic case of where an over-zealous movie industry, trying so very hard to fight pirates, is causing a lot of collateral damage, and just making people more likely to torrent stuff. C’mon big movie companies: if you want to get people to stop pirating, how about you stop making it impossibly difficult (as if it wasn’t already hard enough) to find legal movies? Sometimes I despair. [TorrentFreak]
Image credit: Man in despair from Shutterstock